Does Depression Cause Memory Loss?

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Memory problems are a common and frustrating potential symptom of depression, a condition that affects about 21 million Americans.

“Memory issues and cognitive problems can make everyday functioning harder and, honestly, more dangerous as individuals with significant impairment can forget to turn the stove off, may take the same medication twice or even three times, can run through red lights while driving, and can even get lost,” says James C. Jackson, PsyD, the director of behavioral health in the ICU Recovery Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

If you’re struggling with memory issues due to depression, know that there are steps you can take to address it and lessen its impact on your life.

What Causes Memory Loss in Major Depressive Disorder?

When you hear the term “memory loss,” you may think of losing a memory that was once there, says Avigail Lev, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and director of the Bay Area CBT Center in San Francisco. “[But with depression,] the issue is not so much memory loss but rather obstacles to storing, consolidating, and retrieving memories,” Dr. Lev explains.

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